Roots: The villagers recite Shakespeare's Sonnet 18, from which this story's title is derived; the Doctor quotes from Richard III ("glorious summer is now a winter of discontent"). Lizzie likens Stockbridge to Brigadoon, while Max and Lizzie discuss The Beatles' Maxwell's Silver Hammer and Eleanor Rigby - the Doctor recalls A Day in the Life; Lizzie's teammates watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The X-Files. Groundhog Day. The Wizard of Oz ("we're not in Stockbridge anymore")
Intertextuality: Maxwell Edison and the Redfern Inn first appeared in The Stars Fell on Stockbridge. Stockbridge locations and elements from the comic strips featured here include Wells Wood, the village green and St Justinian's church (The Tides of Time), the Green Dragon Inn and its proprietor Mrs Withers (The Stockbridge Horror). Max's reference to 'Quarry Lane' is likely a nod to the Limestone quarry from The Stockbridge Horror, while scenes from Max's past are lifted verbatim (in some places) from The Stars Fell on Stockbridge. "Old John at the general store" is presumably the same elder store proprietor J Grubb in The Iron Legion.
Goofs: Max recognises the Doctor in his fifth body, but makes no mention of subsequent comic strip adventures with him, these being with the Eighth Doctor in End Game in 1996 - introducing new companion Izzy (who appears in Company of Friends), and the Tenth Doctor in The Stockbridge Child from 2008 [do these stories now form part of his 'revised' life in the restored Stockbridge?]
"There's never been an Andrew Harper in Stockbridge" says Harold Withers to Nyssa as she asks after her past liaison from Circular Time. While this is purportedly a Goof by Morris' admission from misremembering the correct name Andrew Whittaker, technically Mr Withers is right. But you still have to feel sorry for poor Andrew.
Dialogue Triumphs: Max on Groundhog Day "I love that film! I must have seen it a thousand times. Which is sort of fitting, come to think of it"
The 'real' Lizzie and Max: "haven't you got anybody looking after you?" "No, I got nobody to look after me. Not any more..." (Awww)
The Doctor: "Deferring explanations is a really annoying habit - I really must stop doing it."
Continuity: Rutan warp core engines contain a cardio-electric capacitor and a metabolic failsafe. When Rutan warp core engines defibrillate they create a stasis field around themselves to allow their ship's pilot to ether repair them or retreat to a place of safety; however the destruction of the ship in medieval Stockbridge (see: Links) resulted in a hyperspatial warp, a temporal conflagration which traps 'splinter selves' of the Doctor and Nyssa in an inflating 'bubble' Stockbridge with its centre in the village green [the site of the warp core explosion?], extending their lives by millions of years and reducing them to withered and embittered husks - the 'Lord and Lady' of the Manor, feeding off the memories and past lives of the villagers who themselves are forced to live out their lives simultaneously and non-chronologically forever. Trapped inside the bubble and having disappeared a relative sixteen years previously, Stockbridge has been reduced to legend, a mythical village much like Brigadoon containing sixty years of the village's life in simultaneous and cyclical chronology. As the bubble has expanded it has also weakened, allowing investigators from the 'real' world governmental Psychic Investigation Group (based in Ashnorton) to attempt to make contact with its residents. The Doctor isn't aware of a 'Manor' having ever been in Stockbridge; within the bubble it is located on the far side of Wells Wood, next to the ruins of Stockbridge Castle - indeed, it is made from the very same stones.
New Stockbridge locations include a duck pond on the village green, the local school, post office (where Nyssa works and lives above, Corrigan and Webb estate agents and the Old Bridge after which the village is named, dating back to mediaeval times and more recently a dangerous but picturesque ruin. The Redfern Inn was run by the Jackson family, and last by Dudley Jackson, who died ten years previously [presumably he retired or stayed on as barman after selling it to Sandra and Les Sinclair, as the pub is theirs as far back as 1988 in Izzy's Story, or history may have been rewritten]. His fiancée was Jane Potter, the teacher at the local school, who drowned in the river Stock when the stonework of the Old Bridge crumbled away from under her feet. The Green Dragon is now a bed and breakfast with a public dining room (Max recommends its 'slap-up grill'). Mrs 'Alice' Withers (nee Alice Felicity Clark) and her husband Harold (Harold George Withers) were married 30 years previously (the Doctor places them in their fifties) and ran the Green Dragon until their deaths - Alice in 2008, and Harold some years previous; they had a son, Phillip, who died in the school fire twenty years ago. The 'real' Lizzie Corrigan in the revised Stockbridge moved into the village ten years ago, is married and works as an estate agent at Corrigan and Webb. Baxter is a local name. The village green in the past has hosted bunting and a maypole, presumably for a Jubilee (though it's never revealed whose.) The sun rises to the south-east, while the nearest village, Ashnorton, is visible from Wells Wood and lies one or two miles due north across the valley (down the lane, cutting through some trees). There are open fields beyond Wells Wood.
Max describes himself as a psychic investigator and Terry Pratchett "de-vo-tee" and has seen Groundhog Day many, many times. In the [now] alternative time line he died early in 2009 in a road accident, hitting a car whilst on his bike at night on Quarry Lane, at the bus stop on the corner near Wells Wood.
According to the 'bubble' Lizzie, psychic energies were properly discovered in the Nineteenth century and have remained an official secret ever since. Psychic projections don't usually interact with their surroundings.
The alien creature known as Viridios 'slept in the Earth for one million years, gradually feeding off the energies of the lies trapped in the bubble Stockbridge through the splintered Lord and Lady Doctor and Nyssa.
The Doctor takes two sugars in his tea. He says the word "normally' isn't really applicable where 'ghosts' are concerned.
Links: This story immediately follows Castle of Fear. The Doctor refers obliquely to the events of Castrovalva (see: Dialogue Triumphs) and refers 'The Lady Nyssa' to "Tegan, Adric, the Master - Cybermen"; Nyssa's past memories include flashbacks to her past with the Doctor in Primeval (Traken), The Mutant Phase (the Dalek Emperor), Circular Time (Spring's Cardinal Zero plus soundbites from Summer and Autumn) and Return to the Web Planet (Xanthe). Her admirer from Stockbridge from their last visit (see: Links) is recalled under the full name Andrew Harper (but see: Goofs. Nyssa may be misremembering his actual name.)
Location: Stockbridge, purportedly several named times, including 4 August 2009, 12 June 1984, 16 June 1995 and 1950.
The Bottom Line: "Reminds me of a town I once visited, but that was entirely artificial - a space-time trap brought into existence by a madman" "-What, Milton-Keynes?"
Equal parts comedy and tragedy, the character of Max and indeed Stockbridge are beautifully realised here, not as a ground zero for strange phenomena, but as a quiet village in the middle of some very odd events, through which the normal inhabitants live out their lives in non-linear time. Some great scenes and set pieces, and an enjoyable double role for the lead cast; this is the clear highlight of the trilogy.